muay thai techniques

The Top 20 Best and Most Useful Muay Thai Techniques

Muay Thai is a martial arts discipline that makes incredible use of most of the body to act as a lethal weapon. From punches to knee strikes, there are countless of techniques you can take advantage of if you want to practice this art. Although there are dozens upon dozens of methods, we decided to lay out 20 of some of the best and most useful Muay Thai techniques. They do take time and practice to learn, but the list should give you an idea of some of the more effective approaches you can take in the ring.

20. Superman Punch

The superman punch is something used across the board in numerous martial arts. It is certainly one of the more crowd-pleasing techniques, which is why so many have attempted to do it.

Do understand that this isn’t all about showmanship. The superman punch is favored as well for how strong it can be considering you’re doing it right. Too many end up performing it wrong, turning what can be a useful technique into something leaving you off-balance.

To do it right and lead to a knockout, always remember that you need to generate the right amount of power through your feet and carry that through to your punch.

19. Teep

One of the oldest techniques in the book, the teep (or push kick) certainly has its uses in a fight. You won’t always be on the attacking side, and to build a good defense against an aggressive opponent, you need to implement the teep.

A well-placed teep can send a charging opponent back to where they came from. As your opponent is knocked off-balance, you should have just enough breathing room to regain your composure if you’ve lost it and prepare for a successful counter.

18. Clinch Throw

The clinch itself is a fundamental move that’s equal parts devastating and frustrating. If you don’t know how to handle yourself in it, you can easily get overrun. Learning some basics that are still useful will help you dominate your opponent whenever you find yourself in the clinch.

One of the basics that’s always effective if done right is the throw. It’s a quick move that can get your opponent away from you and off their game. You want to gain the upper hand quickly, and make sure to utilize both hands to both push and pull your opponent, creating enough momentum to force them to the ground.

17. Knees from the Clinch

Another effective technique in the clinch is to land some strong knees. The clinch places you in perfect range to either receive or deliver consistent blows to the stomach, so you want to be sure you’re the one giving them out before the other guy can.

You want to remain in control at all times with this so that it isn’t reversed and used against you instead. The steadier you are, the more energy you preserve for your attacks, and the stronger your knee strikes will be in the long run.

Some well-placed, constant knees can cripple your opponent, so this is certainly a technique you will want to familiarize yourself with as you will undoubtedly find yourself in the clinch several times in your fighting career.

16. Parry the Teep w/ Counter

At the start of the countdown, we brought up push kicks as an effective technique. Just as you should understand how to use the move, you would do well learning how to defend against it.

Parrying the teep is a great way to push back against an opponent’s defense. You want to combine your footwork here in order for it to work well and to keep your opponent from catching on to what you’re doing. A good way to counter after the parry is to use a strike like a high kick or sweep the legs out.

15. Clinch Sweep

Getting your opponent on the ground is an excellent show of strength and dominance in a match. A way to do that quickly is by sweeping out their leg and preparing yourself right away for a follow-up attack.

It is a technique that seems super simple, yet it is ever useful if you don’t feel comfortable in the clinch and need to get out of it as soon as possible. Work on sweeping in the clinch with your sparring partner, and by the time you enter a real match, you should not have to worry much about being stuck in a clinch.

14. Fake Teep

We’re back again with the popular teep technique. This time, however, an effective way to use the technique is to not use it at all.

Setting up stronger, more devastating combos is essential if you want to win a match. Faking your opponent out with the teep is perfect for that. How you set this up depends on you and the situation you’re in. You can toss a few jabs, fake with a teep, and come in with a knee. Or you can fake a teep and answer with a swift kick or spinning elbow.

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind the setup so your opponent will actually be confused and won’t catch on to your feints.

13. Clinch Entry

If you can catch onto your opponent’s weak clinch game, then take advantage of it and force them into a position he can’t win in and land some good strikes in the meantime.

There are quite a few ways you can enter the clinch and maintain dominance. You can slip one of their punches and go in instead, getting a good grip around their head and start nailing in the knees. Alternatively, you can pat their arms down and rush in for the grab. Figure out a way that works for you and get inside that clinch safely and hold the advantage.

12. Catch & Sweep

Kicks happen frequently in Muay Thai, so it is clear that you should make it a point to develop a proper defense against them. A great way to do this is by using the catch and sweep technique.

Compared to a lot of other techniques on this list, this may not be powerful in terms of causing knockouts. However, it ranks high considering how incredibly useful it is. The better you counter your opponent’s moves, the less likely they are to try to use them on you again.

With the catch and sweep, timing and agility means everything. When you have your opponent’s leg, work as fast as you can to sweep their other leg so they hit the ground in seconds. This technique allows you to readily gain an advantage over your opponent.

11. Overhand Punch

The basics can really help you deliver some great punches and setup some good knockouts, and the overhand is no exception to that.

It has its potential at being a knockout punch due to how much momentum you can generate with it in addition to how you can consecutively use it during a single attack. You can rush your opponent with this technique or make good use of it as a counterattack to really throw your opponent off-guard.

10. Spinning Elbow

The spinning elbow is an incredible technique to use when in close range. Considering that you’re close enough to hit with your elbow though means using this technique comes with heavy risks. You can throw yourself off-guard if you miss and wind up too close to your opponent without time to throw up a defense.

Nevertheless, the pros outweigh the risks in this case. A spinning elbow can be difficult to master without the right setup, but when you use it, it’ll lead to a devastating blow that’ll absolutely rock your opponent. There are numerous ways you can leave room for the spinning elbow. Try combining with different moves or even use it to recover from a missed kick. Do it right and your opponent won’t know what hit them until it’s too late.

9. Straight Knee

From the outside looking in, the straight (forward) knee is a basic move that it seems just about anyone can do. It may be basic, but it is no less a powerful attack. In fact, there’s a reason you see so many Muay Thai fighters throwing knee strikes throughout a match.

It allows you to assault your opponent’s midsection and wear them down. Another great thing about this technique is that it’s entirely versatile. You can deliver it from close-up or rush in from further away. It works on both offense and defense; offense to keep you on the attack and defense to disrupt your opponent long enough for you to regain some ground.

8. Spinning Back Kick

If you want to place anything in your arsenal as soon as you can, then it is the spinning back kick technique. It’s rather advanced considering that you are leaving yourself pretty vulnerable if you don’t land it right. You can, of course, miss and fail to recover properly to prepare your defense in time.

As usual, practice is important here, so make good use of that heavy bag to drill these kicks. Once you master it, you are capable of landing a match-ending liver hit or crack a few ribs.

7. Kick Counters

As good as it is to learn the various kick techniques, you still have to defend yourself when they’re used against you. Whether it’s a hit to the body or an attack to the legs, having good defensive techniques against the kick will save you a lot of trouble in the end.

If it’s coming in up high, then use your arms to take the blow and counter with a kick of your own. Go for the side that the kick didn’t come from; if they came at you from the right, attack their left. If an opponent’s aiming for that body hit, you can teep their thigh to knock them off-balance and, again, deliver your own hit.

6. Switch Kick

An effective, rapid move, the switch kick is a well-known and frequent technique. It’s a cornerstone move that you need to include in your arsenal of techniques if you haven’t already due to that it can cause some serious damage.

With the switch kick, you want to be switching your hips along with your feet. This technique is all about combining force with speed. Never move too slow doing this or your opponent will catch on and immediately counter. Go fast, steady, and envision you’re kicking through your opponent.

5. Overhand Counters

To carry on with defensive techniques, countering the overhand is a vital to learn as the overhand alone is used regularly in Muay Thai.

A great way to counter the overhand is to use one of your arms to block it and come with your other hand to either pull them closer for a knee or send out a strike of your own. If you’re quick enough, you can use the quick opening available when your opponent’s throwing the overhand to force them into a clinch and bring up a sharp knee to counter. You don’t have a shortage of counters, so try some out the next time you spar.

4. Flying Switch Knee

A flying knee is generally safe to perform when compared to other techniques, but it must have a good setup in order for it to actually work.

Performing the switch knee is perfect as it temporarily distracts your opponent as to which side you’re actually going to strike from. Step forward, however, with the attacking leg. Once you get the momentum going, you’ll jump with the opposite leg, switching quickly with the other to land a powerful blow.

If you can, try grabbing for your opponent’s head during the move; you’ll bring them closer to the knee and maybe even land that knockout strike.

3. Liver Shot

A famous and absolutely painful technique is going for the liver. There is no getting around a liver shot; the body takes over the reaction and can’t help but fall to the ground. It’s both a dreadful and wonderful technique.

If you want to use this technique, then know that it doesn’t have to just be the usual punch. You can make use of a hard knee or a swift kick to assault the liver and tear down your opponent. Set it up right, and you’ll end that match in no time.

2. Roundhouse Kick

The roundhouse kick is an iconic, powerful technique that can annihilate your opponent. It is one of the first moves most learn when you begin your Muay Thai training, but it’s one that so many people, even those who have practiced for years, can still struggle executing.

An improper roundhouse can actually waste power and leave you wide open for a counter. It may take some time, and you’ll more than likely master other techniques long before you nail this down, but the end results make all your training worthwhile. The more efficient your roundhouse, the more power you can place behind each kick and the easier you can return to your fight stance.

1. Spinning Back Fist

One of the best Muay Thai techniques you can learn is the spinning back fist. It’s an advanced move, and although it may look slightly similar to the spinning elbow, this is a technique of its own right. Again, you are close to your opponent here, but you do have more freedom of range since you can extend your arm to land the hit. When used right, it’s a dangerous, potent technique that can lead to a great knockout.

Remember this technique works best when you set it up. Go for the feint; “miss” a punch or a kick and follow it up by sneaking in this mighty back fist. Though you are rotating, make sure you keep your eye on your opponent before and when you release the punch. The entire technique should be fluent and steady.

Wrap Up

There are almost too many amazing Muay Thai techniques to compile in one sitting. However, we hope our 20 favorite and useful ones will serve you well in improving your skills and allowing you to take in more wins and deliver more knockouts.


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